Thursday, February 13, 2014

100 years ago: Rev James Barkley Woodburn's 'The Ulster Scot - His History and Religion'

Nearly 100 years ago, in March 1914, Rev James Barkley Woodburn (1872-1957), then minister of Castlerock Presbyterian Church in County Londonderry, wrote the introduction to his landmark book The Ulster Scot - His History and Religion.

It is an essential text in many ways. The Preface begins '... In Ireland there are three main divisions of the people ...', not the 'two tribes' of today. The 412 pages are a solid summary of our story right up to the Tenant Right movement of the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The book was published on 23 April 1914 (the day before the Ulster Volunteer Force guns were landed at Larne, Bangor and Donaghadee) and had glowing reviews in the newspapers of Ulster, Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales.

J.B.'s father was Rev Matthew Woodburn, minister of Ballywillan Presbyterian Church; his brother George would later become President of Magee College. In 1940 James Barkley Woodburn became Moderator of the General Assembly.